Fathima Ali

“Clearly this angel of death had not visited the rural suburbs of Sylhet for some time or else he would have known that we are unlike any other children in the world. Namely that we are not children. Not from the day we can mutter our own names and stumble on our own pudgy feet. Rather, each of us has a trade of our own. We are farmers and fisherman, merchants and haggling businessmen in crowded markets. Some of us work in factories for hours on end, sewing buttons and lining hems for dresses we can never wear. We are brides and we are cooks. We are mothers and we are wives raising our siblings and elders alike. From the day we are born, we are expected to earn our keep.”

If I Die

When the Angel of Death encounters a weeping Bengali girl, a scorched tiger and a wounded runaway Pakistani soldier on a rickety bridge over the Surma River contemplating suicide, he is intrigued. Death listens to the trio, each narrating their tale of woe that led them through the devastating Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971.

Fathima is a British Bangladeshi writer who was born and raised in London. She studied English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Westminster and has a master’s degree in Publishing from University College London. If I Die is based on a short story written 10 years ago in a Creative Writing class, after realising how little people around her knew of the Liberation War that tore her ancestral home apart.

Fathima was previously a Research Project Assistant at the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education working on diversity in UK children’s books. She currently works at a children’s audio start-up that includes audiobooks.